Back in the summer 2005, I put up a tent in front of the Edwards Mira Mesa theater in San Diego to camp out for Revenge of the Sith for about a week. This was for a couple of reasons. For one, it was going to be the final Star Wars movie. As someone who literally grew up with Star Wars and had made the Skywalker Ranch pilgrimage, camping out in front of a theater for a week was the perfect way for me to say goodbye to Star Wars. The other reason was the camp was to raise money for Starlight Starbright, which is Mark Hamill’s chosen children’s charity; and I actually came in second place in terms of earnings.
When Revenge of the Sith was released, I came to accept that Star Wars was over. There were other things to look forward to. Marvel was ramping up their superhero movies, and that same year Batman Begins was released and that sparked a new bright future for DC. Disney also had the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and at the time a new Indy was just a rumor. Star Wars, as it existed as a theatrical experience, was ending. And I accepted it.
Clone Wars came around, and it was awesome, but in the years following Revenge of the Sith it started to become hard to get excited about Star Wars again as there would be no more movies in theaters. Sure we’d get the 3D re-releases, but it wasn’t the same as the thrill of seeing a new Star Wars movie on the big screen.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had in the summer of 1999 watching Episode I begin. Never. Sure, like most obsessed fans that summer I had read the script, so I knew how it would play out. But that couldn’t compare with seeing it. Once the opening crawl ended, and Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon dropped their hoods, I had to pinch myself out of disbelief. After so many years of waiting, I was actually watching a new Star Wars movie on the big screen.
Star Wars was made to be seen in that format. It was designed to be experienced on the giant screen with epic surround sound pounding your eardrums while John Williams took you to a galaxy, far…far away.
When Revenge of the Sith was released, that experience was coming to an end. Star Wars, as we knew it, was over.
The following San Diego Comic Con, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Spectacular was built around the slogan “Star Wars is Forever”; based on Clone Wars coming up and the promise of a live action television series. That furor died down very quickly, and for the last couple of years; Star Wars was coming close to what it was like back in the late 80s before the Zahn books reignited the franchise.
That was until Disney shocked the world by announcing that they bought Lucasfilm.
I’ve said I thought it was some early April Fool’s joke myself, if only because of the shock. It wasn’t shocking that Disney bought Lucasfilm, it was shocking that it actually happened. People have speculated about it for a while, as it’s a perfect fit but the shock was that Disney actually fulfilled the speculation and did something like that. The bigger shock was that Episode VII would just be two and a half years away.
Star Wars was back. After the shock of that revelation wore off, I nearly cried. Not only was Star Wars back, we’d be getting a true Sequel Trilogy…and the more Star Wars movies forever. We’d likely never have another Revenge of the Sith situation. Star Wars would live on. That changed everything.
Suddenly the movies I was really looking forward to and hyped about seemed not as important. The Hobbit, Iron Man 3, Star Trek 2, The Avengers 2, Amazing Spider-Man 2…all seemed not as big a deal anymore because Star Wars was coming back. And it was coming back soon. I immediately switched back into “Star Wars mode”. Set up Google Alerts for the new movies, and began counting down to summer 2015.
Disney bought Lucasfilm, brought back Star Wars, and changed the geek world forever.